Growing and maintaining your law firm’s client base is one of the most challenging, yet essential, tasks you’ll be up against continuously. The process of finding new leads, converting them into clients, and then keeping your current clients happy can feel overwhelming. Often when you have a good grasp on one aspect, the other can slip through the cracks; This is where CRM software comes in.
What Is CRM Software Exactly?
Imagine having an address book with all of your client’s information, an integrative marketing plan, and reports and statistics all at your fingertips - that’s what CRM software is in a nutshell. Customer relationship management software, or CRM, offers integrative methods to generate and manage leads, manage current client relationships, and implement and manage marketing plans all in one place.
Bob Thompson of the CustomerThink Corporation said of CRM software,
“Successful CRM is about competing in the relationship dimension. Not as an alternative to having a competitive product or reasonable price- but as a differentiator. If your competitors are doing the same thing you are (as they generally are), product and price won’t give you a long-term, sustainable competitive advantage. But if you can get an edge based on how customers feel about your company, it’s a much stickier–sustainable–relationship over the long haul.”
Essentially CRM software can cement the opportunity for your law firm to gather and communicate with clients in a way simply not possible before. As Forbes describes it, “At its core, a CRM tool creates a simple user interface for a collection of data that helps businesses recognize and communicate with customers in a scalable way.”
How Can CRM Software Help My Law Firm?
The bottom line, CRM software can increase your law firm’s client acquisition and retention in a tremendous way when integrated into your business plan and marketing strategy. Here’s how:
- Data Consolidation - Compiling data is great; But, what’s not so great is having it spread out within your law firm and not easily found, accessible, or usable when it’s needed. CRM software can give your law firm the opportunity to compile and organize contact information, communication history, and marketing efforts for leads and clients all in one place. This makes it easily accessible throughout the firm by who needs it when they need it.
- Marketing Strategy Implementation and Fluidity - When you’re running a marketing campaign, it’s vital that strategies and efforts can be handled simultaneously throughout your law firm. By concentrating marketing efforts through the use of CRM, you can ensure that team members across the board make the same conversion approaches.
- Improved Client Experience - Great customer service makes for a solid foundation no matter what business you’re in. Through the use of CRM software, your law firm can give clients a more personalized experience by tracking history and interactions and solving problems.
- Better and Regular Client Communication - Regular and meaningful communication makes for solid client relationships. With your clients being the backbone of your law firm, the improved efforts in this department through CRM can’t be stressed enough. CRM software can be used to both communicate with clients through forms such as email and chat and store communications for future reference, as well as schedule and automate regular communication reminders and efforts.
- Streamlined and Targeted Marketing Efforts - CRM can offer the unique capability to your law firm of gaining insight into your client's preferences and needs and then targeting your marketing efforts towards them in a streamlined and efficient manner.
- Reporting - Tracking the performance of your marketing efforts and gaining insights into your client’s needs is crucial to supporting your law firm’s growth and success. Through CRM software, you can track and gauge client interactions, lead conversions, problem resolutions, employee activity, and other data pertinent to your law firm.
Which CRM Software Should I Choose?
Once you’ve decided to implement CRM software into your firm’s day-to-day, you’ll face many choices in the space. When choosing CRM software, law firms have to decide between one that accommodates general business and marketing, or one that is tailored towards law firms; Each comes with their own benefits. And with each law firm and its goals being unique, not every CRM software will offer what may be needed by yours individually. Common and useful features often provided by CRM software include:
- Third-Party Integration - Your law firm most likely uses a lot of different software to perform day-to-day operations. Choosing a CRM option that integrates with your accounting software, email, file storage, and more can provide a more seamless experience.
- Calendar Coordination - Many CRM softwares offer shared calendar options, which can prove useful to keep team schedules coordinated and ensures everyone is in-the-know.
- Workflow Automation Options - How can the CRM software help your legal team be more productive? Look for features such as contact form automation, auto-responses to clients, communication logs, task completion and reports, and reminders.
- Social Media Features - Whether you’re just getting started on social media with your law firm, or it’s already a substantial part of your marketing strategy, CRM can help. Many CRM software options can gather and analyze mentions of your firm on social media and manage and schedule posts and communications from your firm.
- Analytics and Insight - The right CRM software will be able to help you analyze all the client data your firm is constantly gathering so that you can make better and more informed decisions on marketing and growth strategies.
- Forecasts - Forecasting is an essential tool for any law firm. Through CRM forecasting, your law firm can plan and prepare accordingly based on tracked trends.
- Lead Organization and Management - Through CRM software, your law firm can gain assistance in gathering leads, weeding out dead leads, managing information and communication efforts, and then hopefully converting them into clients.
- Task Management - Through CRM software, tasks can be coordinated between staff and overseen by management.
- Customer Service Features - Great and consistent customer service can help guarantee that once you’ve converted a lead into a client, they stay a client. Tracking things like problem resolution, website usage, client history and preferences, important names and roles, and communication efforts can provide your clients with a well-rounded and personalized experience that they’ll appreciate.
- Customization Options - Your law firm is like no other; And because of this, it’s important that the CRM software you choose can be molded to fit your needs. Things like reporting, dashboard, and plug-in customization and additional options can prove useful for your law firm to use CRM software effectively.
- Reporting Options - Being able to track and gauge results, trends, and efforts in the areas of communication, sales, lead conversions, and client acquisition are important. Through CRM software reporting, your law firm can gain significant insight in these areas and make better and more informed decisions.
- Email and Communication - Through email and chat communication options offered in a CRM, communication efforts can be consolidated and tracked all in one place; Both making things flow easier for your team and helping provide a better experience for your clients.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular CRM software options used within the legal industry:
- HubSpot - Extremely customizable, well-priced, and integrative - HubSpot is not specific to the law firm space but can be formed to fit most marketing and CRM needs.
- LawRuler - LawRuler is touted as the first of its kind and initially began in 2012 to help with the efforts of law firms handling the BP oil spill at that time. Known for its automation, simple design, and great pricing, this CRM software is definitely worth checking into.
- SalesForce - One of the most well-known and widely used CRM platforms, SalesForce, is popular for a good reason. You can customize almost every aspect of SalesForce to meet your law firm’s marketing and CRM needs, as well as gain powerful reports and data insights.
- Zoho - Zoho’s biggest selling point is perhaps its mobile capabilities, which can give your team access to valuable CRM tools from anywhere. This CRM option is very account management focused, which can be great for smaller firms just getting started with their client growth efforts.
- Copper - Known for its useful automation capabilities, Copper takes the guesswork out of effective CRM for law firms. It also integrates with many other platforms like DropBox and G-Suite.
- Lexicata - Lexicata is one of the most well-established and known legal-focused CRM softwares. Integratable, easy-to-use, and well-priced, Lexicata has proven a solid choice for many law firms.